Army Aviation Hall of Fame 1976 Induction
(Inducted to represent the 1950-1959 period)
MG Spurgeon Neel (then a LTC) was a pioneer in the development of the principles of aeromedical evacuation of battlefield casualties having chaired a board which tested, evaluated and recommended the use of the helicopter in medical evacuation (MEDEVAC) roles.
His recommendations were put to use during the Korean War and, based on further experiences in this war, he developed MEDEVAC policies, procedures and organizations which are the foundation of current aeromedical operations.
As a major, Neel became the Army's first aviation medical officer in 1954.
In 1955, he served on the Department of the Army board which conducted a design competition to select the new Army utility helicopter, which ultimately became the UH-1.
That same year he established flying status for aviation medical officers and was the first medical officer to receive flying status.
In 1956, he established the Aviation Branch within the Office of the Surgeon General and became its first chief, later designing the Aviation Medical Officer Badge and becoming its first recipient.
Further, he established a formal program for board certification of Army medical officers in aviation medicine and laid the groundwork for the Army's aviation medical training and research program.